Crispy Caramel Popcorn

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup salted butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 quarts plain popped corn

1. Heat your oven to 200 deg. Spray 2 baking sheets with non-stick spray.

2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the brown sugar, butter, salt, corn syrup, and cream of tartar until melted. Attach a candy thermometer and bring to a low boil, stirring often. Stirring constantly (but not vigorously), bring the temperature up to the hard ball stage (about 5 minutes), then remove from the heat. Immediately stir in the baking soda.

3. Immediately pour the hot caramel over the popcorn (PLEASE, PLEASE be careful here. The melted caramel is like lava and is 250deg. If it gets on you it will stick and burn) and stir it until the popcorn is evenly coated. (I use two silicon spatulas, one in each hand, to get the popcorn coated quickly, otherwise the caramel cools too fast and it has a harder time getting distributed.)

4. Divide the caramel-coated popcorn between the two prepared baking sheets and spread it out in an even layer. Bake for 60 minutes, stirring after each 20 minutes. Transfer to waxed paper to cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Makes about 3 1/2 quarts caramel popcorn.